Page last updated at 10:16 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Arrests follow China tower fire

Mandarin Oriental Hotel destroyed by fire
The flagship Mandarin Oriental Hotel was nearly completed

Twelve people have been detained in connection with a fire that partly destroyed the unfinished headquarters of China's state broadcaster.

One of those being held is an official from China Central Television (CCTV), Xinhua state news agency confirmed.

CCTV has apologised for setting off powerful illegal firecrackers that are blamed for sparking the Beijing blaze.

A firefighter died after inhaling toxic fumes and several people were injured in the fire late on Monday.

The tragedy has angered some Chinese, for appearing to show how high-profile groups can bypass normal rules.

Officials from CCTV were using the new building - that housed the near-completed Mandarin Oriental hotel and a culture centre - as the backdrop for an illegal pyrotechnics display.

Mandarin hotel Beijing ablaze, 9 Feb 09

One or more fireworks hit the tower, which was still under construction so the sprinkler system was not switched on. The 33-storey block may now have to be scrapped.

Among those detained over the incident was Xu Wei, 50, who was in charge of construction at CCTV's new site.

The 12 are being held "on suspicion of creating a disturbance with dangerous materials", an official statement said.

Citing police, Xinhua news agency reported separately that three other CCTV employees and eight people the station hired to set off the fireworks were also under detention.

Authorities said previously the blaze was caused by fireworks that CCTV had illegally set off that were far more powerful than the public was allowed to buy.

It also ignored police orders against setting off the fireworks as part of Chinese lunar new year celebrations.

Print Sponsor

Beijing party that went horribly wrong
12 Feb 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Beijing's building revolution
09 Mar 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Beijing Olympic Bird's Nest ready
28 Jun 08 |  Asia-Pacific
China building boom backlash
24 Jan 07 |  Newsnight
BBC World News: Olympics
04 Aug 08 |  Special Reports

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2016 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific